Those of you with long memories (and iron stomachs) will recall that back on June 22, 2007, I blogged about a 13 year-old girl who was made a paraplegic on a Superman ride at a Six Flags amusement park in Kentucky. Now a different Superman ride in New York has stepped up to finish the job.

One week ago today, a paraplegic Army Sergeant was thrown from the Ride of Steel roller coaster in Darian Lake Theme Park in New York state. The soldier, who had lost his legs in an explosion in the ongoing Iraq War, was thrown from the coaster when the lap bar restraint -- designed to fit securely over his non-existent thighs -- surprisingly failed to restrain him. When Iraqi insurgents are unable to kill someone, it sounds like a job for Superman!

According to published reports, the soldier's sister told reporters, "that minute he was on that ride, he probably felt the happiest and most normal he's felt in three-and-a-half years...." Of course, in the seconds afterwards, when he was thrown from the ride onto the track and struck by a steel coaster moving 50 MPH, he probably wished he was back in Iraq. With all due apologies to his family, it must have been a real roller coaster of emotion.

It will come as no surprise that in 1999 when the coaster was built, Darian Lake was a Six Flags park and the Ride of Steel was originally named Superman: The Ride of Steel. The park was sold in 2006, but that only proves that you can take the park away from Six Flags, but you can't take the Six Flags out of the park.

This isn't the first time that a Superman Ride of Steel coaster has killed. There were three such coasters built for Six Flags parks in 1999/2000, one in New York, one in Massachusetts, and one in Maryland. The Ride of Steel in Massachusetts killed a man in 2004. The Ride of Steel in Maryland hasn't killed anyone. Yet. Don't let your guard down, Maryland: Superman coasters are killers, and disaster can strike faster than a speeding bullet.

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To be continued...


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